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Women’s golf advances to NCAA quarterfinals

Junior Albane Valenzuela (above) finished sixth overall in the tournament. The Cardinal are headed into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, facing off against No. 3 Duke on Tuesday morning. (ROB ERICSON/isiphotos.com)

No. 7 Stanford women’s golf advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship after placing seventh through the first three rounds of the tournament play at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Stanford was one of eight teams to qualify for the playoff round of the tournament and will face off against No. 3 Duke in the quarterfinals.

Junior Albane Valenzuela finished sixth out of 132 in the individual tournament, nine strokes off the winner, Maria Fassi of Arkansas, who had the benefit of playing on her home course.

On Friday, the Cardinal began the initial stage of national competition in strong position finishing the day in a tie for third with Arizona and two of the leaders, Texas and Arkansas. Valenzuela set the pace for Stanford as she so often has this season, and by day’s end sat at 1-over, knotted up with several others in fifth place.

One of the players she was tied with was freshman teammate Aline Krauter, who picked up some of the slack from a mediocre performance by senior Andrea Lee. Junior Ziyi Wang rounded out the top five for the Cardinal with a 6-over 79.

Stanford would not have a chance to carry this momentum into the next day as play was cancelled on Saturday due to thunderstorms. The break also appeared to give other teams who may have underperformed in the first round more time to recalculate and plan for stronger outings in the second round.

The Cardinal bettered its first-day mark by four strokes but dropped to sixth on Sunday because of the outstanding play of its competitors. Duke took a commanding lead on the day with an 11-under 281, while every other team who eventually placed in the top eight would score under Stanford’s 300.

Valenzuela put in another solid round shooting an even-par 73 to anchor the Cardinal squad. Lee, Krauter and sophomore Mika Liu rounded out the top four for Stanford.

Because of the exemplary play from the rest of the field, Stanford sat on the bubble for a spot in the playoff rounds heading into the final round on Monday.

Ultimately, consistency carried Stanford through to the second half of the tournament. While other teams wilted on the final day, the Cardinal remained steady. Valenzuela and Krauter both shot even-par to offset lackluster performances on the back end from Liu (3-over 76) and Lee (7-over 80).

The NCAA team quarterfinals begin tomorrow at 11 a.m. PST. Should the Cardinal defeat the Blue Devils, Stanford will advance to the semifinals later in the day at 4 p.m. PST. The final round is scheduled for Wednesday at 4 p.m. PST.

Contact Andrew Tan at tandrew ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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